F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello made an uncharacteristic error in qualifying as Williams' weekend woes continued in Australia.
Barrichello dropped a wheel on the grass under braking at Turn 3 and ended up beached in the gravel without setting a lap in Q2 and will start in 17th.
The error was the latest setback for Williams who have battled reliability issues all weekend but Technical Director Sam Michael still believes his drivers can score points in the race.
He said: “We've had a troublesome day and although we have to improve, the end result does not reflect our true pace.”
“With Pastor's spin and the oil leak on Rubens' gearbox, the mileage we were able to cover in practice was considerably restricted and caused us to be conservative with some of our set-up choices for the race.”
“We had another off in qualifying, this time with Rubens, but Pastor kept his head down and is now looking ahead to a solid race.”
“Tomorrow's focus is firmly on scoring points with both cars. It will also be interesting to see the moveable rear wing working as intended and delivering some exciting overtaking!”
Pastor Maldonado in his first qualifying session was hampered by yellow flags and a flat spot on his tyre in Q2 which prevented him from improving on 15th but can't wait for his debut race.
He concluded: “I made it through Q1 fine and everything was going well. On the first set of tyres in Q2, I had two yellow flags; with the second set, I had a big flat spot and had to abort the run.
“The session was exciting though! We need to improve a bit, but overall the car is good and I feel optimistic. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and I really think points are possible.”